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Practitioners Responding to the Mental Health Crisis with Education

June 5, 2024
Two students sit next to each other talking.
Two students talk inside the Wellness Lodge, D'Youville's onsite counseling center for students.

D’Youville University launches a new Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s degree beginning Fall 2024. The new program was approved this month and focuses on developing skills to treat mental health patients, while integrating education alongside students in a wide range of other healthcare programs. Program faculty are active practitioners, which provides relevant experiences to share with students regarding diagnosis and real-world problems.

The program launch comes in response to the national mental health crisis. The American Psychological Association(1) reported in the most recent practitioner survey that 56% of practitioners have no openings for new patients, and among practitioners that carry wait lists, a patient would on average be required to wait up to three months for an appointment. In turn it is no surprise that Mental health counseling is among the fastest growing healthcare degree fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(2) projects employment of mental health counselors growing by ~18% by 2032, significantly faster than the average of ~3% for all occupations.

“We are dealing with a severe shortage of mental health practitioners,” says President Lorrie Clemo, PhD. “People shouldn’t be forced to forgo the services they need simply because there aren’t enough practitioners available.”

In addition to the relevancy of the Practitioner-as-Teacher Model, D’Youville’s program distinguishes itself through its collaborative health care environment where students are learning techniques to treat the whole patient – mind, body, and spirit with other students enrolled in 10+ other healthcare fields including nursing, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, chiropractic, physician assistant, nutrition, and exercise science programs. This is critically important because much research has shown that interprofessional collaboration improves patient outcomes and job satisfaction(3).

The program features a progressive low-residency format offered in hybrid format (on campus Saturday and Sunday one weekend a month) or online with the intent of offering flexibility to working professionals. Courses are conducted in 8 and 16-week modules throughout the calendar year, enabling degree completion in two years. The program prepares students to sit for the New York State licensure exam to become a licensed mental health counselor.

The program is led by former Medaille University faculty that transitioned their employment to D’Youville University in the summer of 2023 and have been diligently working with accreditors and regulatory agents, including SUNY and the New York State Education Department and its Office of the Professions, which oversees the licensure of professions in the state.

“This program is about bringing knowledge from the field directly into the classroom and using it to shape future counselors with the expertise to navigate the increasing mental health challenges of society” states Helena Boersma, EdD, Administrative Director of Mental Health Counseling Program. “We are also integrating technology to ensure students are prepared for the workplace of the future. ”

To learn more about D’Youville University’s new Master's in Mental Health Counseling program and how it can help you launch a rewarding career, please visit the graduate admissions webpage for more details.


  1. American Psychological Association. “Psychologists reaching their limits as patients present with worsening symptoms year after year,” 2023 Practitioner Pulse Survey, Accessed 30 May 2024.
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors,” 17 Apr. 2024, Accessed 30 May 2024.
  3. Johnson & Johnson. “The importance of interprofessional collaboration in healthcare,” 11 Sept. 2023, Accessed 30 May 2024
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